Weak economic outlook makes real estate appear more attractive as an asset?

Two new condominiums boasting competitive pricing and good locations brought buyers out in force despite the fragile economic outlook.

More than 500 people have submitted cheques as an expression of interest in the 519-unit Forest Woods in Lorong Lew Lian, City Developments (CDL) said yesterday. Recent executive condo launches include Treasure Crest and Northwave EC while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone EC, The Vales EC, Parc Life EC , Sol Acres EC, The Visionaire EC,  Bellewoods EC, Signature at Yishun, The Criterion EC, Waterwoods EC, Skypark Residences, Wandervale EC, The Amore EC,  Bellewaters EC.

Eager buyers also snapped up 280 out of the 626 available apartments when The Alps Residences in Tampines Street 86 was launched for sale on Sunday.

Analysts believe attractive prices and locations in established estates were the key lures for buyers.

R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said the “vibrant mood” at the two showflats highlighted optimism from buyers who are “highly selective but see good potential” in the projects.

Forest Woods, which is being developed by CDL, Hong Leong Holdings and TID, opened for preview on Sept 24, and its showflat has since attracted “more than 4,500 groups of visitors and families”.

The project, which launches for sale this weekend, offers one-bedders with study to four-bedders and single-storey five-bedroom penthouses.

Unit sizes range from 506 sq ft for a one-bedroom with study to 2,185 sq ft for the largest penthouse.

Prices start at $688,000 for a one-bedder with study, $838,000 for a two-bedder, $1.1 million for a three-bedroom, and $1.65 million for a four-bedroom unit.

Buyers were highly selective at The Alps Residences, which is being developed by MCC Land.

It said the one- and two-bedders accounted for 88 per cent of the 280 units sold, with 87 per cent of the buyers being Singaporeans – either upgraders or investors.

“Some buyers might be spurred into action as prices are now at a level they perceive to be of good value,” said Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Reality Network.

The Alps Residences comprises one- to four-bedroom units and larger penthouses, with sizes ranging from 441 sq ft to 2,486 sq ft. Its indicative selling prices range from over $900 psf to about $1,200 psf.

Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of South-east Asia research at property consultancy Edmund Tie & Co, told The Straits Times: “The weak economic outlook actually makes real estate appear more attractive as an asset, as the forecast for equities, bonds and commodities appears worse.”

However, Dr Lee noted that the potential hike in interest rates later this year may weaken sales volume.

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